Oil markets: break-even bad

World crude prices have paused following their collapse, but will not stay still for long

Google: soul searching

Search is losing market share in digital advertising

Israeli gas: landing the Leviathan

The Leviathan and Tamar fields offer potential, and challenges

Amgen: splitting hairs

Amgen is not a conglomerate. Breaking it up is pure valuation arbitrage

CIT Aerospace 737-MAX8 Artwork

Boeing: long-haul flight

Earnings growth will not count without clarity on cash costs

European banks: light Sunday reading

Results of the Asset Quality Review and stress tests are due this weekend

Total: After de Margerie

Broad diversity of production will mark chief executive’s legacy

US spectrum auction: cash, or carry on

Local TV stations’ spectrum may be worth more than their operations

Yahoo: everything on display

Mayer has not totally proved her strategy yet, but Tuesday’s results may buy her more time

Suzuki: puttering up

Carmaker will be hit with a tax on mini-vehicles in Japan

  • Oil markets: Where’d the floor go?

    World crude prices have stopped falling precipitously - for now. Plenty seem to be betting that prices can rise quickly from $85 a barrel, if a 'floor' is not far below. Lex isn't so sure - and in this live note will look at the winners and losers of a longer oil slump. Join us at 12pm London for the discussion.

    Continue reading: Oil markets: Where’d the floor go?
  • Gearing up to go reverse and forward

    Lex discussed on Wednesday the upcoming 600Mhz spectrum auction the FCC will launch in 2015. Not only is the estimated dollar value of the spectrum proceeds massive ($45bn vs. the $19bn for the 700Mhz auction in 2008) but many observers believe it is the most complex auction ever envisioned.

    The US government doesn’t happen to own the spectrum being sold- it is the possession of local TV stations across the United States. It’s formally being referred to as an “incentive” auction because the FCC has to cajole thus far reluctant TV stations to put their spectrum holdings up for sale. And so the incentive auction is two auctions run in parallel. On one side is a “reverse” auction that determines the price at which spectrum is tendered. On the other side is a “forward” auction where buyers such as mobile operators Verizon and T-Mobile bid for spectrum.

    Continue reading: Gearing up to go reverse and forward
  • Reverse Morris Bust

    This probably isn’t the week to be announcing transformative M&A — as infrastructure software provider NetScout has discovered the hard way. It announced a rare Reverse Morris Trust transaction on Monday where it would combine with the communications unit of the conglomerate Danaher, a key rival. In an RMT deal, one company will spin off a division and simultaneously merge it with a smaller company. The rub is that it remains tax-free to both companies and shareholders as long as the shareholders of the spinning conglomerate own a majority of the new company’s shares.

    Here’s how NetScout shares have reacted since Monday.

    Continue reading: Reverse Morris Bust
  • Bank of America: still uncertain future

    After Bank of America settled litigation expenses with the Department of Justice over mortgage-related disputes for a record $16.7bn in August, investors were told that the worst was over. The focus would solely be on the future. Such promise was rewarded.

    BofA shares rallied 10 per cent in the aftermath of the settlement up until the end of last month. That was double most of its rivals. JP Morgan stock was up 5 per cent, while Citigroup’s grew 4 per cent. There was confidence that the Charlotte-based bank was truly back on track.

    But on Wednesday it emerged that its crisis-era mortgage troubles were not over yet. The $500m in reserves for legacy-related mortgage matters is small compared to the $70bn it has already agreed to pay over legal settlements. Still, it’s sizeable and leaves a cloud of uncertainty over the future of the bank.

    Continue reading: Bank of America: still uncertain future